Thursday, April 9, 2009


I went swimming this morning. There was only one lane available.

And it looked like we had a bunch of champs in the pool.


Of course, I'm not easily distracted by other swimmers anymore. I used to be, when I first started swimming "competitively". Nowadays, I just go about my business.

When I ventured into the world of triathlon, I thought swimming would be the easiest part. I hardly did any training for my first race.

Guess what? Not only did I come in last in my wave, but I also saw the next wave begin to pass me. I'm pretty sure I came in last in the second wave when I posted a 25:25 750m swim.

Go ahead and laugh. That's what this is all about.

I decided to train. I went to the pool, and I watched swimmers. The amazing thing about swimming is that unlike running or cycling, it's very difficult to guess how fast someone is swimming by watching them. At the time, I couldn't tell "good form" from "bad form" and "purists" from "triathletes".

I jumped in the pool. I started "swimming". Splashing, gasping, and moving ridiculously slow. I didn't feel slow--afterall, I could barely breath I was pushing so hard---I didn't feel slow, until I noticed the other swimmers passing me.

I got mad.

I wanted to be fast. So, I tried to race them.

I could never keep up.

But I kept at it.

I didn't like those other swimmers. I could never catch them. I wanted them to think I was fast. I got all the gear.

But, I didn't get any faster.

Still, I kept swimming.

Then an amazing thing happened. As I started focusing more on me and my training instead of what others were doing and possibly thinking, my swimming started to get better.

In the past, when someone would ask me about my swimming, I was always embarrassed. I would make excuses like "I Haven't been in the pool in awhile." or "I'm just base training" or "I coming back from an injury"....anything to justify my slow speed.

Today, I swam long. My first 1000m went very well. During the 2nd one, I noticed my concentration waning, and I slowed down. When I checked my watch, I was disappointed with my time but I also knew that I would do better on Saturday.

When I got out of the pool, the guy next to me asked me a couple of questions and then said, "You're really fast. I couldn't even keep up doing my 25's."

And y'know what I said?

Thank you.


Bill said...

And that's what fitness is all about. The silent progression that you don't even notice until someone else comments. And that someone else is likely someone similar to who you were when you started.

R. Jeffrey Davis said...

Way to go, Tea!

Wes said...

We are our own harshest critics :-) Well done, Tea!!!

Billunit said...

I think you know that swimming is my favorite of the tri sports. I really enjoy the feeling of swimming smoothly and in good form, when you're not trying to swim fast, but swim gracefully and balanced. Then you suddenly realize you really are fast. Great post.

Tribrit said...

I was the same as you, assumed that I could swim therefore I'd be fine in a tri. Finally started getting to grips with masters this year and learning better form and the pinnacle of my acheivement was when a woman at the side of the pool pointed me out to my coach and asked if he could make her swim like me as I made it look "effortless"